What really grinds my gears close

Rachel Wilde
19th April 2012
What really grinds my gears

This month I’m dedicating Grinds my Gears to something that annoys me 100%. That means it annoys me to the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM. No more of me can be wound up because there is no higher percentage. No, it is not possible to annoy me 110% or 150% or any other higher percent than 100 because that is the limit for me to offer. If I were to use a higher percentage then I would be lying, it just wouldn’t make any sense. It would make me sound like I didn’t understand how percentages work. So why on earth do people find it necessary to go over the 100% limit when trying to express themselves?

Whenever I hear someone say "I give 110%" it makes me want to scream. What do you do stick an extra arm on yourself and give that?

When I’m watching the X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent and Simon Cowell says to a grandma with a dancing dog, "A billion percent YES”, I want to yank his high trousers up even higher and give him the biggest wedgie ever seen.

When I’m playing netball I get asked to “Give 150% for this last quarter” I think well if you're going to go over 100% why stop at 150%? Why not ask me to give a gazillion percent? You obviously don't want me to try that hard. 

Using an impossible percentage doesn't actually mean anything, it just makes the person saying them sound stupid. In fact the business world, especially marketing, is full of people and companies trying to big themselves up with annoying sayings and phrases that, in my opinion, just sound ridiculous and make me think they are full of crap. So why do people insist on using them?

A goldmine for this is The Apprentice, a show full of driven young professionals too busy trying to come up with bullsh*t quotes, that they don't focus on what they are actually supposed to be doing. A girl on the last series announced “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit if there are footprints on the moon” Which I found hilarious! Not only do you sound like an idiot but what are you actually saying? You want to fly to the moon? You'll need more than Sir Alan’s £250k to do that I'm afraid. The extent to which these exaggerated sayings and arrogance is becoming accepted (and almost expected) really hit me yesterday when I saw an article in the Metro about a bloke who had that very "sky's the limit" quote tattooed all up his arms. Don't encourage these people!!!

In a business sense I'm sure at some point we've all found ourselves sitting in a meeting listening to people use phrase after phrase of meaningless sayings and their point is lost amongst all the crap. And I just think, in a cynical time when everyone appreciates honesty and wants to save time and money, just get to the point. Don’t fluff it up. Don't think "outside the box". Be original. Don't "push the boundaries". Take a risk. Don't "harmonise the brand experience". Be consistent. And most of all, don’t tell obvious lies that make you look stupid. If you're going to try your very best at something, rather than say I’m going to give 110%, say that you're going to do your very best and I might actually believe you.

Because stupid sayings that we now accept as standard is what really Grinds my Gears. And you can trust me on that 110%.